It’s hard to imagine a better way to celebrate Threatened Species Day than doing something that will protect habitat forever. But that’s exactly what Mullumbimby-based Rainforest Trust-Australia are doing this week.
They’ve just bought the last block on a service road in the Daintree which means that in time the road will be closed forever and revegetated with habitat for the endangered cassowary.
Kelvin Davies, CEO Rainforest Trust-Australia said it is fitting timing for such an important corridor to be protected forever.
“We are thrilled to be taking steps towards actually closing roads in the Daintree,” Kelvin said, adding that the other blocks along the service road were purchased by the Queensland Government eight years ago.
“This is the last piece of the jigsaw and we can now make moves to permanently close the service road and replant it with habitat for cassowaries and other endangered species,” Kelvin said.
The property is in an area that has been identified as a high priority for acquisition and conservation and Rainforest Trust-Australia intends to have the land added to the national park estate.
One of the reasons the area is such a high priority for conservation is that it is known cassowary habitat.
The Cassowary is listed as threatened by the Australian Government as well as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Kelvin said his organisation is totally committed to extending cassowary habitat and helping to slow plummeting population numbers.
“This property is one of 33 pieces of land that Rainforest Trust-Australia has purchased in the Daintree,” Kelvin said. “And we’re currently negotiating with the Queensland Government to have six properties we already own accepted for inclusion in Daintree National Park.”
Cow Bay in the Daintree has been the focus of conservation efforts for decades due to its exceptionally high conservation values.
The Douglas Shire Council Planning Scheme 2006 recognised the most environmentally significant land in the Daintree and restricted further development to see it protected for the future.
The Queensland Government purchased 350 properties in 2008, however in the Cow Bay area, some undeveloped freehold properties remain.
“It is our vision to re-wild parts of the Daintree impacted by the rural residential development of the 1980s,” Kelvin said. “We are delighted to be making such a genuine contribution to local conservation efforts by consolidating environmentally significant corridors in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest.”
Kelvin said the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is internationally recognised as an environmental and tourism icon.
“It is absolutely vital that we protect it, not just for its conservation values, but also because of its proximity to the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas.”
Rainforest Trust-Australia is a non-profit organisation working to conserve the Daintree Lowland Rainforest as part of a global rainforest conservation mission.
Donations for the purchase and protection of additional Daintree Rainforest properties can be made at www.RainforestTrust.org.
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Samantha Morris is a consultant to Rainforest Trust-Australia